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Injured bald eagle recovers, returns to wild - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Injured bald eagle recovers, returns to wild

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THETFORD, Vt. -

A Vermont game warden found an injured bald eagle on the side of the road in Danby March 21. It has been recovering at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee ever since.

"When it came to us we found that it had really bad head trauma," said Sara Eisenhauer of VINS. "Its head was just drooped forward, it wasn't able to keep its head up or be very alert at all, very lethargic. And then on top of that, it was incredibly skinny. So, it was starving."

Wildlife experts at VINS began to nurse the bird back to health, giving it anti-inflammatory medication, vitamins and eventually food. They say its recovery was astounding.

"We really didn't think it was going to make it," Eisenhauer said. "It was so down and out with the head trauma, but after about a 48-hour window, and we started with clear fluids as well for the starvation, the bird just recovered overnight practically and was very vibrant, very alert and aggressive."

American bald eagles used to be endangered in the United States. But thanks in part to conservation efforts, the population has rebounded. However, the bird still faces challenges.

"Mortality rates are still relatively high because it is difficult to find food. And with this past winter, we had, we have seen a lot of starvation cases with a lot of variety of species of raptors just because there has been less food availability, too much snow, very frigid temperatures," Eisenhauer explained.

Officials at VINS do not know what caused the eagle's injuries, but with one gentle toss it once again took flight, soaring alongside the Connecticut River in Thetford before landing near the top of a towering tree, finding its perch in its new home.

"We weren't sure it was even going to make it when it came to us," Eisenhauer said. "So, getting it back out into the wild and seeing that flight... I mean it didn't even have a launching pad. All it did was just let it go and it was able to fly straight forward on its own. I think there is a really good chance for this bird to be able to survive."

The young bird will get its iconic white head and tail feathers in a couple of years, as this symbol of America continues to thrive.

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